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Allen and Greenough/ New Latin Grammar

Prohibition (Negative Command)

450. Prohibition is regularly expressed in classic prose (1) by nōlī with the Infinitive, (2) by cavē with the Present Subjunctive, or (3) by with the Perfect Subjunctive:—1

    (1) nōlī putāre (Lig. 33), do not suppose (be unwilling to suppose).

    nōlī impudēns esse (Fam. 12.30.1), don't be shameless.

    nōlīte cōgere sociōs (Verr. 2.1.82), do not compel the allies.

    (2) cavē putēs (Att. 7.20), don't suppose (take care lest you suppose).

    cavē īgnōscās (Lig. 14), do not pardon.

    cavē festīnēs (Fam. 16.12.6), do not be in haste.

    (3) necesse habueris (Att. 16.2.5), do not regard it as necessary.

    nē sīs admīrātus (Fam. 7.18.3), do not be surprised.

    hōc facitō; hōc nē fēceris (Div. 2.127), thou shalt do this, thou shalt not do that.

    Apellae quidem dīxeris (Fam. 7.25.2), do not tell Apella even.

    vōs quidem mortem timueritis (Tusc. 1.98), nor must you fear death.

All three of these constructions are well established in classic prose. The first, which is the most ceremonious, occurs oftenest; the third, though not discourteous, is usually less formal and more peremptory than the others.

Note 1— Instead of nōlī the poets sometimes use other imperatives of similar meaning (cf. § 457. a):—

    parce piās scelerāre manūs (Aen. 3.42), forbear to defile your pious hands.

    cētera mitte loquī (Hor. Epod. 13.7), forbear to say the rest.

    fuge quaerere (Hor. Od. 1.9.13), do not inquire.

Note 2— Cavē nē is sometimes used in prohibitions; also vidē nē and (colloquially) fac nē: as, fac nē quid aliud cūrēs (Fam. 16.11), see that you attend to nothing else.

Note 3— The present subjunctive with and the perfect with cavē are found in old writers; with the present is common in poetry at all periods:—

    nē exspectētis (Pl. Ps. 1234), do not wait.

    nē metuās (Mart. Ep. 1.70.13), do not fear.

    cave quicquam responderis (Pl. Am. 608), do not make any reply.

Note 4— Other negatives sometimes take the place of :—

    nihil īgnōveris (Mur. 65), grant no pardon (pardon nothing).

    nec mihi illud dīxeris (Fin. 1.25), and do not say this to me.

Note 5— The regular connective, and do not, is nēve.

a. The Present Imperative with is used in prohibitions by early writers and the poets:—

    timē (Pl. Curc. 520), don't be afraid.

    nimium nē crēde colōrī (Ecl. 2.17), trust not too much to complexion.

    equō nē crēdite (Aen. 2.48), trust not the horse.

b. The Future Imperative with is used in prohibitions in laws and formal precepts (see § 449 . 2).

XML File

In prohibitions the subjunctive with is hortatory; that with cavē is an object clause (cf. §§ 450 . N.2, 565. N.1).